The recently released puzzle platformer System of Souls seems to recreate Portal with a sharp attitude, new mechanics and a distinct lack of cake. Valve’s famous first-person puzzle series allows players to create doorways in space to manipulate physics and explore Aperture Science. While the author of the series wants Valve to make Portal 3 for fans, System of Souls seems to be the spiritual successor to the cult series.
The 2007 portal introduced players to Portal Gun, a sci-fi tool created by Aperture Science capable of opening doors in space. In the classic Valve title, players use Portal Gun to pass a series of tests of the aggressive artificial intelligence GLaDOS, but ultimately players can avoid the tests and defeat her. In the sequel of 2011 Portal 2 even more attention is paid to literate writing, and completely new puzzle mechanics are presented, such as attracting rays, lasers and gels with various properties. While Valve doesn’t seem to have any plans to release Portal 3, Portal’s recent Unreal Engine 5 remake demonstrates the potential of a modern successor.
The trailer for the launch of System of Souls, posted by PlayStation on YouTube, shows a first-person puzzle game resembling Portal, but without humor. The indie game, developed by Gammera Nest SL, takes players to the year 2155, when human souls are placed in robot bodies to survive in a rapidly deteriorating environment. The main character of the game, L-064N, will explore the ION object, solving puzzles and fighting with an over-developed AI named Aura. While the premise seems remarkably similar to Portal, System of Souls seems to take on a more philosophical tone. The puzzle mechanics also allow players to control gravity and freeze moving objects in place, rather than opening portals. System of Souls is already available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
Valve’s well-known Portal series has influenced many first-person puzzle projects. Recently, The Entropy Center puzzle game dedicated to time travel was demonstrated at the Future Games Show 2022. an object using first-person puzzle mechanics. However, the Entropy Center gameplay will give players a talking cannon called ASTRA, which is capable of moving objects back in time to repair or move them. The Entropy Center seems to be continuing the legacy of Portal’s witty humor, while System of Souls seems to be taking on a more distinctly serious tone.
Despite the fact that System of Souls is largely borrowed from Portal, it seems that the game creates its own mechanics and captures its own unique tone. Like many Valve games, the Portal series is known for combining witty humor with more serious philosophical moments. System of Souls, meanwhile, seems to be using puzzle mechanics to delve deeper into the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence and eternal life.